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Archive for the ‘Bible Commentary’ Category

Andrew T. Le Peau. Mark: Through Old Testament Eyes.  Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, September 27th 2017. 352 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This is a wonderful commentary.  It is one that I would recommend every Pastor and Bible teachers have as one of their resources while they are teaching through the Book of Mark.  I do believe it is an indispensable tool.  I know there are many Bible commentaries out and no doubt someone would ask me why this commentary.  “Why one more new one when there are so many that have been written already?”  I think this commentary is unique and helpful by providing a concentrated focus look at Mark “through Old Testament eyes,” which is the book’s subtitle.  What that means is that this commentary interprets the Book of Mark according to the Old Testament content which clearly Mark would have assumed the readers would have been familiar with.  Unfortunately today many Christians are less familiar with the Old Testament than Christians in previous generations.  And the insights that this commentary points out with the Old Testament is a treasure trove that makes this worth every spent getting it.

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Dale Ralph Davis. The Way of the Righteous in the Muck of Life: Psalms 1–12.  Ross-Shire, UK: Christian Focus Publications, July 20th 2010. 144 pp.

4 out of 5

Purchase: Westminster Amazon

This is a devotional Bible commentary on Psalm 1 through Psalm 12 written by Dale Ralph Davis, a Pastor and Professor of the Old Testament with Reformed Theological Seminary at Jackson, Mississippi.  I have previously enjoyed Davis’ commentary on the book of Judges and also his book titled The Word Became Fresh which the subtitle explained as “How to Preach from Old Testament Narrative Texts.”  Both works were phenomenal and I think one can say that Davis’ commentaries on Old Testament historical narratives are phenomenal and is one that an expositor of the Bible must have if he is going to teach on Old Testament narratives.  So when I saw that Davis’ had written a devotional commentary on the beginning of the Psalms I had to purchase it though it took me a few years before I finally read it and finished it.

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Dale Ralph Davis. Judges: Such a Great Salvation.  Ross-Shire, UK: Christian Focus Publications, March 20th, 2006. 240 pp.

Rating: 5 out of 5

This was a very edifying and enjoyable bible commentary through the book of Judges.  The work is authored by Dale Ralph Davis who previously was a professor of the Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS).  This is an outstanding work that helps explain what is going on in the book of Judges.  The commentary divides Judges into three parts with a total of twenty one chapters.  I think anyone who is studying the book of Judge will find this commentary as an indispensable resource.  The great thing about the way the author writes is that it is accessible for preachers as well as the person in the pew.  I learned a lot from reading this book and below are some of the highlights:

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This commentary series put out by Kregel Academic is amazing.  Last year I reviewed another commentary in this series on Exodus by Duane A. Garrett and I’ve thumb through volume one of this particular three volume series on the Psalms by Allen Ross and I’ve been blessed by the contents in them.

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For those looking for a Christmas gift book this is one I recommend.

Inconspicuous Providence Bryan Gregory

Bryan R. Gregory. Inconspicuous Providence: The Gospel According to Esther.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, December 12th 2014. 208 pp.

This was an amazing commentary on the book of Esther.  I learned a lot about Esther as a result of reading it.  It is one of those rare commentaries that is great for devotionals and the expositor as I explain below.

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A Commentary on Exodus

Duane A. Garrett. A Commentary on Exodus.  Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, November, 1st, 2014. 741 pp.

I must begin with a bit of a personal note.  Many years ago when I was a young Christian I had used the author’s commentary on Hosea and Joel that was my first real exposure to an exegetical commentary.  I was blown away.  I was likewise blown away with Duane Garrett’s recent commentary on Exodus.  Of course this time around I am much older and I felt I was able to benefit more from Garrett exegetical insights than when I was a young college student reading through Hosea and Joel.  Garrett has done an excellent job with his Exodus commentary.

The Introduction was well over a hundred page.  I appreciated Garrett’s point that many commentators on Exodus have neglected the important contribution of Egyptology and one sees Garrett’s tremendous effort in bringing up-to-date scholarship from Egyptology to bear concerning Introductory matters of the book of Exodus.  In particular I thought his discussion of anything chronological stood out, especially with the dating of the events of Exodus.  It is incredibly detailed: He considers the difficulties of Egyptian method of counting how many days are to be in a year, when various Pharaohs ruled and archaeological findings in the area of Canaan as he weighs the pros and cons of various arguments for the late or early dating of the book.  I think it is worth getting the book for the Introduction alone.  While he does not come to a fixed conclusion of when the events of Exodus takes place nevertheless his interaction of the arguments of the various views is a good summary of the various views.

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Mark Grant Osborne

Grant Osborne. Mark.  Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2014. 352 pp.

This is a work that is a part of the Teaching the Text Commentary Series put out by Baker Books.  My overall review of this book is that this is a wonderful and helpful expositional commentary.  I read through this commentary for my own devotional but felt it would be good for an expositor to use as well.  The introduction of the book mentioned that the editor was intentional in making this volume accessible and helpful for the exegete and educated lay person and certainly I think they largely succeeded with the format of the book.  The author begins each section in the commentary with the big idea summarizing the periscope, then a section titled “understanding the text” that is broken down into “The Text in Context” followed by “Interpretative Insight” that goes roughly verse by verse.  After this is “Theological Insights” then “Teaching the Text” and ends with “Illustrating the Text.”  I appreciation the commentary’s attempt to give illustration even when at times the illustration was weak since it help the expositor jog his mind for sermon illustrations!

This is a commentary filled with good insights.  Here in this review I can only share some of those that stood out to me:

  • I especially enjoyed how the commentary shares background that helped enlightened the text; for instance, the Jews often saw that the further back in salvation history one can pull in one’s theological argument, the greater is its theological “weight;” thus when Jesus argues against the Pharisees concerning divorce the move by Jesus to go back to Adam and Eve and not just stay with Leviticus and Deuteronomy was a deliberate move to provide an argument with a stronger force than the Pharisees.
  • In the first century religious context, Jewish sages were often seen as being too important to have children bother them; yet Jesus turns this on its head when He welcomes children in Mark 10:13-16.
  • This commentary was also helpful for me in interpreting Jesus’ curse of the fig tree.  The author noted that fig trees in the area typically had early figs in early March even though the main season that it bloomed was in May; this was what Jesus expected from the fig tree even though it was “not the season for figs.”  The commentary makes the argument that the issue isn’t so much about the fig tree as it is about the spiritually barren temple (which the fig tree periscope is sandwiched between two periscopes at the temple) which the word “season” heavily suggests since it is not a botanical term for growing season but a religious term.
  • Background information is also important in appreciating the scene of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey.  The commentary noted that it was unusual for pilgrims to enter Jerusalem on a ride so Jesus entrance into Jerusalem bear some resemblance to Solomon’s entrance to Jerusalem on David’s donkey in 1 Kings 1:32-48.
  • The commentary’s explanation of how the Jews performed the Passover feast with its various steps also help illuminated what was going on during Jesus’ last supper.
  • There are some ironies during the night that Jesus was arrested.  The verb for “laying hands” is often used in Mark to describe Jesus healing people but now used to describe people grabbing Jesus.  Normally in Jewish custom it is the Rabbis who bestow the greeting of a kiss to his disciples and not the other way around as Judas did.

Although I read through this commentary as a devotional read I would also say that this commentary is definitely for expository preachers.  Several years ago I had a hard time finding a good commentary I can recommend on Mark to my church’s small group leaders.  Had this commentary came out then I would have also recommended this book as a tool for lay people leading Bible studies on Mark.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Baker Books and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

Purchase: Amazon

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